day 16 – in Poland!
June 5, 2012.
Tuesday was a full day for La Roja, with a training session, sponsor obligations and finally, the trip to Gniewino, Poland, where Fernando Llorente took charge of receiving the welcoming present (much to his own surprise), and Xavi recorded the welcoming committee, or at least part of it, for posterity.
The training session.
The team trained for the last time in Spain on Tuesday morning, with a 70-minute long session. Cesc was able to train with his teammates, while Álvaro Arbeloa missed out due to some neck pains and trained by himself. The U-15 team and Luis Milla watched the session at Las Rozas, along with hundreds of fans. Jesús Navas had to leave the session after injuring his right hand. Tests at the Cemtro showed that nothing was wrong, thankfully.
Prior to the session, we had Gerard Piqué goofing around with Cesc (who else) and Jordi getting an up close and personal look at Sergio Ramos’ hair. He seemed to like it.
The federation had invited all of the sponsors – Adidas, Santa Mónica, Banesto, Tour España, Iberdrola, Pelayo, Cruzcampo, Cepsa, Marca, Brooksfield, Continental, PlayStation, Chevrolet, General Óptica – of La Roja to Las Rozas to meet the player and pose for pictures, so that’s what they did after the training session. The players and representatives from those companies gathered in the parking lot under the hot sun for the photo, but it couldn’t be taken, because someone was missing: Gerard Piqué. A couple of minutes later, he strolled out of the residence, and received a round of applause from his teammates, as well as a shout from Pepe Reina: “¡Qué empanada, Piqué!” While the players were waiting, Sergio had chatted with Fernando Torres and seemed intent on doing something to Cesc’ hair. Hands off Sergio!
Jesús Navas missed out on this photo op as he was in the hospital getting tests done on his hand. I love seeing Xabi front and center as the third captain! And I’m still not used to this. He looks quite different, and his hair has actually been looking red in some photos.
After lunch, the team (the players, the coaching staff and all the members of Spain’s delegation to the Eurocopa) put on their official suits by Brooksfield, and posed for another photo (Jesús had returned by then, so he was included in this photo). As you can see, the jacket of the suit has a star and the escudo of the federation on the left side. There are two ties that go with the suit, a plain navy blue one and another with the stripes in the colors of the Spanish flag, and the Italian firm also provided the shoes and the belts. Apparently, some of the federation employees complained that the pants were tapered, and also said the shoes were very comfortable. And as you can also see, Sergio’s hair got progressively higher (=worse).
They then headed to the airport in their new suits, to fly to Poland, so the next stop was Barajas, where the team’s airplane, an Airbus A321 that goes by the name Generalife (named after the palace in the Alhambra complex), was waiting for them. Painted on the side were the words “orgullosos de nuestra selección” (proud of our national team). The team posed for a photo for Iberia before boarding the plane, with Juanfran’s suitcase front and center.
Inside the airplane, the boys took the time to carefully hang up or fold their jackets before sitting down. PF is adorable, no?
The delegation (made up of 140 persons, including federation employees and guests, the press and Manolo el del Bombo) left Madrid around 16h and arrived at around 19:30 in Gdansk. The team then traveled by bus to Gniewino, where they were received with a reception organized by the town and local authorities, complete with a band and cheerleaders. Fernando Llorente was in charge of accepting the bread with salt that the locals gave to the team to welcome them. He looked a bit bashful when he was the one chosen to receive it, while his teammates all had big smiles on their faces.
Fernando is adorable. If I had been the girl, I would have chosen to give it to him too (or Xabi).
I’m still not used to it. He doesn’t look like Sergio anymore.
In an interview with Radio Marca, Javi (!!!) talked at length about Fernando Torres: “I’m not one to have idols, but I liked Zidane a lot. I also like Xavi Hernández and Fernando Torres. Before, I supported Atlético for Torres and when he went to Liverpool I also began liking that team. Now I like Chelsea a bit because Fernando Torres plays there.” I wonder if he can get his mind around the fact that Fernando Torres is now his teammate, and has been for two years.
Spain is tied with France as the shortest team out of the 16 teams participating in the Eurocopa, as the average height is only 180 centimeters. Santi Cazorla is our bajito más bajo, at 1.68 centimeters. Fernando Llorente, at 1.95, is our tallest player and there’s a difference of 27 centimeters between him and Santi.
In terms of age, Spain’s average age is 27 years, which is also about the average for the tournament. Xavi, who is 32, is our oldest player, and Jordi Alba, Javi Martínez (!!!) and Sergio Busquets are all the youngest at 23 (Jordi is the youngest out of the 23-year-olds).
And here’s an interview Sergio Ramos did with DT (including the last photo shoot before he chopped off his hair), during which he spoke a bit about the national team.